Idaho Divorce Law

Divorce – State Law Summary – Idaho

Notes: This summary is not intended to be an all-inclusive summary of the laws of divorce in the State of Idaho, but does contain basic and other procedures.


Grounds for divorce
A divorce may be granted in Idaho based upon the following grounds:

1.  Adultery
2.  Extreme cruelty
3.  Willful desertion
4.  Willful neglect
5.  Habitual intemperance
6.  Conviction of a felony
7.  Permanent insanity
8.  Irreconcilable differences

Residency requirements/where to file
The plaintiff in an action for divorce in the State of Idaho must have been a resident of the state for at least six (6) full weeks immediately prior to the filing of the action for divorce. The action should be filed in the county where the defendant resides, or the county where the plaintiff resides if the defendant is not a resident of the State of Idaho. 32-701

Name of court and title of action/parties
An action for divorce in the State of Idaho is filed in the District Court. The title of the action initiating the proceeding is referred to as the Complaint for Divorce, while the title of the action granting the divorce is called the Decree of Divorce. The party filing the action is the Plaintiff, while the other spouse is the Defendant.

Legal separation
Idaho has no legal provisions for court-ordered legal separation.

Waiting period
There is a mandatory waiting period of twenty (20) days from the date of the date of commencement of the action and service of process to the granting of the divorce. 32-716

When a divorce is granted, the court may award alimony to a spouse if it finds that the spouse seeking alimony lacks sufficient property to provide for his or her reasonable needs, and is unable to support himself or herself through employment. The order granting alimony shall be in an amount and for a time period that the court deems just, after consideration of the following factors:

1.  The financial resources of the spouse seeking support
2.  The time necessary to acquire sufficient education and training to enable the spouse to find employment
3.  The duration of the marriage
4.  The age and physical and emotional condition of the spouse seeking support
5.  The ability of the spouse from whom support is sought to meet his or her needs while meeting the needs of the spouse seeking support
6.  The tax consequences to each spouse
7.  The fault of either party 32-705

Distribution of property
In Idaho, the court will divide the all of the community property equally after setting aside to each spouse that spouse’s separate property, unless there exists compelling reasons to divide the property otherwise.  Some of the factors the court will examine in making a determination as to whether to divide the community property equally include:

1.  The duration of the marriage
2.  Any antenuptial agreement
3.  The age, health, occupation, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability and liabilities of each spouse
4.  The needs of each spouse
5.  The present and future earning capacity of each spouse
6.  Retirement benefits of each spouse
7.  Any other relevant factor 32-712

Child custody
The court shall determine the issue of child custody based upon the best interests of the child.  There is a presumption that joint custody is in the child’s best interests.  Among the factors the court will consider in determining the best interests of the child are:

1.  The wishes of the child’s parents
2.  The wishes of the child
3.  The interaction and interrelationship of the child with the parents and siblings
4.  The child’s adjustment to his/her home,school and community
5.  The mental and physical health and integrity of all individuals concerned
6.  The need to promote continuity and stability in the life of the child
7.  Any instances of domestic violence

Each parent, unless otherwise stated by the court, shall have equal access to information pertaining to the child, such as medical, dental, health and school records. 32-717, 32-717A

Child support
The court may order either or both parents to pay an amount reasonable and necessary for the support of a minor child until that child’s eighteenth birthday after considering the following factors:

1.  The financial resources of the child
2.  The financial resources of the parent
3.  The physical and emotional condition and needs of the child and his or her educational needs
4.  The availability of medical coverage for the child

The State of Idaho has established child support guidelines which set the presumptive correct amount of child support to be awarded. Deviation from the guidelines requires a specific written finding on the record of the proceeding that the application of the guidelines would be unjust or inappropriate in the particular case.  32-706

During the mandatory waiting period of twenty days before granting a divorce, the court may, upon request of either party, require a conference of the parties to make a determination as to whether a reconciliation of the parties is practicable. 32-716

Grandparents’ visitation
In any case where the child is actually residing with a grandparent in a stable relationship, that grandparent shall have standing for evaluating the custody arrangements of the child. 32-717A

Inside Idaho Divorce Law